Zero Waste Grocery Shopping Kit

So what exactly do you need to take to the grocery store to shop zero waste? To save you the overwhelming thought of filling your car with dozens of jars, bags, and other contraptions let me simplify it for you with a list of what I bring and how to keep it all organized. Now, this usually depends on what is on the menu for the week, but the list I’ve put together below, is my basic “go-to” kit that never fails me.

Cloth Grocery Bags

I usually take about 3-4 cloth grocery bags with me to the store which is always enough for my husband’s and I’s weekly grocery haul. You might need more or less depending on how big your family is and how often you shop.

Cloth Produce/Bulk Bags

Cloth produce bags are essential items to refusing single use waste. They have been the key accessory for me to eliminate the majority of my shopping waste. I use them for produce, items out of the bulks bins, and baked goods! Where does one get cloth produce/bulk bags? Amazon and Etsy have several options available for purchase. You can also make some from scrap fabric or raggedy clothing, sheets, or curtains. I typically take about 10 with me to the store, of various sizes, since a lot of my food will go into these.

Some people bring a charcoal pencil with them to write PLUs on the bags but I just use my memo app on my phone and give them to the cashier at the end – it actually goes faster.

Check out my post: 5 Steps to Zero Waste Bulk Shopping for a more detailed explanation on how to shop with reusable containers.

Jars

There are a few wet items I get while I shop including peanut butter, almond butter, dish soap, laundry soap, and oils. Jars make for an easy, air tight container to transport your goods home. I also use jars for spices and baking components that I need less of like baking soda and cocoa powder. Keep in mind that you do NOT pay for the weight of the jar. The cashier will subtract the tare weight (weight of the empty jar) from the total weight of the jar and item combined at checkout. I usually bring about 4 jars with me when I shop but, again, this can depend on what I need to stock up on.

If you eat animal products, you can also use jars to get meat and cheese from the butcher and deli counters. These work much better than the paper they usually wrap the products in considering jars won’t leak!
Another item that could be used for animal products are reusable storage bags from Blue Avocado. They are light weight and not breakable which might be a better option for some of you.

Cloth Wine Bag

Ok, this is completely optional but I find that this little bag is one of my favorite things to keep me organized which is absolutely KEY to making zero waste grocery shopping easy and hassle free! I use this little fella to organize my other shopping components like jars and smaller bags – oh yes – and wine of course. You have to have wine! Check out your local liquor stores or liquor departments in your grocery stores for these bags.

And that’s it! That’s all I bring. I keep everything together in my pantry and when it’s time to go to the grocery store or farmer’s market, I just grab by bag and walk out the door. When I return from my shopping trips I make sure to wash all of the bags including the big cloth grocery bags just to ensure everything is clean for the next week’s trip.

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8 thoughts on “Zero Waste Grocery Shopping Kit

  1. We don't have many bulk food stores around here, so we mostly just have to use our wine bags for wine. Ha! But I like your idea about using them to carry containers, so when I find a bulk store I'll be sure to try that.

  2. Nothing wrong filling that bag up with wine! 🙂 Yes, lack of bulk stores is sad. I so wish there were more options for smaller communities. But in the meantime, I'm close to posting an article on what to do when you don't have access. 😉

  3. I use my wine back like that too! I also let my produce “roam free” if I don't have my grocery set up. I refuse to use those produce bags. A checkout lady got annoyed at me once because she had to corral my apples. “Why didn't you put these in a bag.” I told her I didn't like bags, and haven't you heard about the movement to set the produce free? I started to chant my way out of the store “FREE THE APPLES, FREE THE ORANGES, STOP OPPRESSING THE CUCUMBERS!”

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